Raleigh-Durham Dive Bar Guide

A Triangle Worth of Distinct Dive Bars

Creating any kind of travel guide for the Triangle is difficult given the immense amount of people, businesses and unique neighborhoods covered by that kind of blanket moniker. The university-driven culture of Chapel Hill creates a different vibe than Raleigh or Durham, but what all areas have in common is the ability to support hidden dive bar gems.

One not-so-hidden gem is Chapel Hill’s He’s Not Here, a University of North Carolina institution founded in 1972. As the only beer garden in the shadow of the university, crowds inevitably pack the broad back patio, but the calling card is the blue 32-ounce cups that seem omnipresent in and around He’s Not Here, each holding one of only two beverages offered by the Chapel Hill dive bar: beer or cider.

Bison Bar in Raleigh is more on the classic neighborhood corner spot end of the spectrum, a dive bar that shares the first floor of its building with a hot dog joint in one of the great dive bar pairings possible. Renovations have cleaned up the Bison Bar to some degree, but this is exactly the kind of local dive bar that can be found throughout the region.

And creating a completely different kind of ambiance is The Kraken on the western outskirts of Chapel Hill, a roadhouse-style dive bar that features a steady stream of live music. Known as a good honky tonk destination, the musical pendulum also swings to heavy metal on occasion, particularly during the bar’s anniversary event, Krakenfest, each year.

These dive bar examples only scratch the surface of the available options in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and elsewhere. All ends of all spectrums are occupied by these and other options, all reflecting the unique characteristics of the communities they serve.

Raleigh-Durham Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Apex

Local Bar

2901 US-64
Apex, NC 27523
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Fairfield

The Bison Bar

815 E Whitaker Mill Rd
Raleigh, NC 27608
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Old North Durham

Accordian Club

316 W Geer St
Durham, NC 27701
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University

He's Not Here

112 1/2 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
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University

Zogs Pool

108 Henderson St
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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Walltown

The Green Room

1108 Broad St
Durham, NC 27705
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West Raleigh

The Goat

5111 Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC 27606
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White Cross

The Kraken

2823 N Carolina Hwy 54 W
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
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Other Dive Bar Options

106 Main

106 E Main St
Durham, NC 27701
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Berkeley Café

217 W Martin St
Raleigh, NC 27601
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Castaways Bar

3616 E Garner Rd
Clayton, NC 27520
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Johnson Street Yacht Club

710 W Johnson St
Raleigh, NC 27603
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Kotuku Surf Club

703 Rigsbee Ave
Durham, NC 27701
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Little Brown Jug

101 W Market St
Smithfield, NC 27577
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Lucky B's

609 Tucker St
Raleigh, NC 27603
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Ruby Deluxe

415 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC 27601
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Ruckus Pizza & Bar

2233 Avent Ferry Rd
Raleigh, NC 27606
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Slim's

227 S Wilmington St
Raleigh, NC 27601
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The Cardinal Bar

713 N West St
Raleigh, NC 27603
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The Cave

452 W Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
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The Ugly Monkey Party Bar

400 W Morgan St
Raleigh, NC 27601
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White Oak Grill & Lounge

7901 White Oak Rd
Garner, NC 27529
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

4 + 14 =

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